Care Bears buyout for OMERS, Birch Hill

A portfolio company owned by the two Canadian private equity firms will pay $195m for Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears, two US cartoon properties wildly popular in the 1980s. The deal also includes the acquisition of Sushi Pack, a Saturday morning cartoon, and DIC Entertainment.

Greeting card giant American Greetings will sell cartoon properties Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears to an OMERS Capital Partners- and Birch Hill Equity Partners-backed company for $195 million (€124 million).

The original

The entertainment division of The Cookie Jar Group, which was taken private in 2004, will also acquire the rights to Sushi Pack, a Saturday morning cartoon show produced by American Greetings and DIC Entertainment, which is a former Bain Capital portfolio company. DIC is also being acquired in the deal.

Birch Hill, a mid-market Canadian firm, and OCP, the private equity firm within the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, have been granted a 10-year exclusive inbound licensing agreement for all three properties.


The modern

“When Cookie Jar was founded we wanted to become an international power in children's entertainment programming,” Cookie Jar's chief executive, Michael Hirsh, said in a statement. “We have been filling Cookie Jar with great properties such as Caillou, Arthur, Johnny Test and The Doodlebops. The acquisition of DIC and now Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears makes us the fastest-growing independent player in the industry.”

Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears were developed in the early 1980s by American Greetings, and grew to include a series of popular television cartoons as well as movies and merchandise.

The cartoons were revamped and reintroduced in 2002 and 2003, and have since generated more than $5 billion in retail sales of licensed product, the firms said.

The deal, subject to customary closing conditions, is slated to close 30 September.